Justice League Endless Winter was a crossover event published by DC Comics featuring the Justice League. The event was originally published between December 2020 and January 2021 in seven issues. (Buy Endless Winter here).
Reading Order/Issue Checklist
The reading order/checklist for Endless Winter is: Justice League: Endless Winter #1, Flash #767, Superman: Endless Winter Special #1, Aquaman #66, Justice League #58, Teen Titans: Endless Winter Special #1, Justice League Dark #29, Black Adam: Endless Winter Special #1, Justice League Endless Winter #2.
Official synopsis: “The Justice League encounters an extinction-level global storm brewing at the former site of the Fortress of Solitude.”
The Justice League roster in this series includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart (Green Lantern), The Flash, and Aquaman.
The main villain of the series is The Frost King, along with Sebastian Stagg.
Also featured are Black Adam, Swamp Thing, Viking Prince, and Queen Hippolyta.
Creative Team (Writers and Artists)
The series was written by Ron Marz and Andy Lanning. The artists are Howard Porter, Marco Santucci, Clayton Henry, Phil Hester, Andre Parks, Miguel Mendonça, Xermanico, Jesus Merino, Amancay Nahuelpan, Brandon Peterson, and Carmine Di Giandomenico.
What Happens In Justice League Endless Winter
A group of D-List villains (Multiplex, Catman, Icicle, and Rampage) have taken over the island of Mathali in the Arabian Sea. The group of them are quickly defeated by the assembled Justice League, who make quick work of them. During the fight, Flash continually asks the other team members how they balance their private lives and working as a superhero.
In the Arctic Circle, within the Joklaborg Region, at the Citadel Glacier – the former site of Superman‘s Fortress of Solitude (he moved it to the Bermuda Triangle), Sebastian Stagg (the son of villain Simon Stagg) is leading an excavation. Stagg is hoping to unlock the alien crystals left at the site by the Fortress.
Stagg forces his workers to continue excavating the glacier, even though a storm is approaching the site.
Justice League vs The Frost King
The glacier begins to collapse and a group of animals made out of ice attacks the expedition. Luckily they are saved by Flash, who received a distress call. The rest of the Justice League arrives and they fight and destroy the ice creatures.
The digging at the glacier site has released the Frost King, who crawls out of a hole in the ground and praises the fact that he is finally free. Looking at the Justice League his vision is distorted and instead of Batman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman, he sees Black Adam, Queen Hippolyta, and Viking Prince. He curses them as “tricksters.”
Angry, the Frost King agains summons his “ice horde” (the animals made from ice) and instructs them to attack the League. As they fight, the ice creatures keep respawning and Batman deduces that the snow that has been falling during the battle comes from the Frost King and is generating the creatures.
Superman tries to reason with the Frost King, but he does not trust the League, and says, “The world will pay” and will not stop him this time.
Then the Frost King disappears.
Superman goes to the site of his emergence and realizes that it is most likely that the Frost King has taken whatever powers he already had and has now merged it with the Kryptonian technology left behind at the former site of the Fortress of Solitude. Superman says the Frost King was emitting a Kryptonian energy signature during their encounter.
The World Goes Cold
All around the world we see that it is now winter and snowing heavily. Places like Gotham City, Manhattan, Washington, D.C., Metropolis and Khandaq are being buried.
In Khandaq, the nation’s ruler Black Adam notes that whatever is now happening “is happening again.”
In a flashback to the 10th Century in Egypt, the wizard who first turned Billy Batson into Shazam! meets up with Hippolyta, Viking Prince, and the Swamp Thing, and he summons Black Adam.
The group then travels to the Arctic Circle in Greenland, where we learn they were summoned to face the Frost King.
Back in the present, the Flash is running across the entire world which is in the grip of a polar vortex caused by the Frost King. Temperatures are plunging to 50 degrees below zero. Around the world members of the Justice League are confronting Frost King’s ice creatures, who are attacking civilians.
At the United Nations, Black Adam slams the League for not yet finding Frost King, which would stop the Endless Winter.
The League sends Flash to Khandaq to try and placate Black Adam, but when he gets there he is ambushed by more of the ice creatures. The intense cold has been slowing Flash down and so they corner him and almost kill him. At the last minute he is saved by Black Adam and a group of supervillains he has brought into the country.
At his palace, Black Adam uses his ability to summon the lightning to replenish Flash’s energy. Flash is then able to return at full speed to Central City, where he saves Iris West from one of the ice creatures.
Origin of the Frost King
Back in 10th century Greenland we meet villager Edwald Olafsson, who has the power of cryokinesis – control over ice. He uses that power to freeze a polar bear, which was attacking his son Magnus. At first his clan praises his power, but then he is unable to control his abilities and he inadvertently plunges the area into a permanent winter. The clan decides to attack Edwald and his family, attempting to kill him to stop the snow.
Edward retaliates, killing the villagers, but one of their arrows hits his son, who dies. Edwald screams in rage and a giant snowstorm descends.
Too Much For Superman?
In the present in Metropolis, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are helping a group of civilians who have lost power to get to Metropolis General Hospital. They are attacked by more ice monsters, but Superman arrives and protects them.
We learn via a Lois Lane column that Superman has been flying all over the world fighting the creatures in places like Paris and Gorilla City.
But there are so many creatures that even he is feeling overwhelmed. He flies to the Kent family farm in Smallville, Kansas, where he meets Krypto, the Super Dog. Superman tries to convince his parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, to let him take them to the Fortress of Solitude, where he thinks they will be safer from the ice creatures. They deny the offer and say that Krypto can protect them, rather than leaving their home.
His parents reprimand him for pushing himself too hard and worrying about them, when there are other more vulnerable people around the world he needs to take care of.
Back in Gotham, Sebastian Stagg’s scientists reveal that a block of crystalline ice they took from the Arctic site has life signs on the inside.
In 10th century Greenland, Edwald Olafsson is raging about the death of his son. His body has been transformed into ice and it is clear that he is now the Frost King.
Attempting to stop the global storms he has created, Black Adam, Swamp Thing, Hippolyta, and Viking Prince fight Frost King. In the course of the battle, Swamp Thing dies, because Frost King’s weather power overcomes Swamp Thing’s deep connection to the Earth.
Aquaman Summons The Fire Trolls
In present day, alongside his wife, Mera, Aquaman is fighting the frost animals who are attacking the underwater city of Atlantis. Aquaman summons a group of creatures, including whales, to fight the ice beings.
Aquaman decides to go to the sector called The Abyss, where they hope to enlist Fire Trolls to help them fight the ice creatures. He travels through a waterway called The Great Cataract to find the home of the trolls. The fire trolls attack him, but he is protected by a water sphere Mera casts around him. The trolls are wowed by Mera’s magic and this convinces them to fight alongside the Atlanteans. They follow Aquaman and start to fight back against Frost King’s ice creatures.
We finally see Frost King, deep in the heart of the swirling snow storm and he is wondering where “they” are.
Back in the 10th century, Black Adam finds Frost King’s family and puts them in the path of his snow storms in an attempt to stop him. Frost King’s wife begs him to stop his attack and for a second it appears that he recognizes her and who she is and he stands still.
Black Adam uses the opening to attack the King, much to the dismay of Hippolyta.
In the present, Jon Stewart meets Detective Chimp, who is monitoring the crisis at the Hall of Justice in Washington, D.C. The system shows that the world is in chaos and the heroes are being stretched to their limit against the ice creatures.
The Frost King then appears at Justice League headquarters. He and John Stewart fight and the rest of the League quickly arrives to have John’s back. John creates a giant axe with the Green Lantern ring and slashes Frost King, but it turns out it wasn’t the real king, but rather an ice avatar.
The real Frost King is still searching the world and has now discovered the three lifeforms inside the ice crystal being kept at Stagg Industries in Gotham.
In the 10th century, Black Adam argues with Hippolyta as they both fight Frost King. She says that they were getting through to him by appealing to his heart and his love of their family, but Black Adam is dismissive and considers this weakness.
In the course of the battle a glacier opens up and Frost King’s family falls inside. He screams in anger and says, “You take my world from me, I will take your world from you!”
Back in the present, at Titans Tower in Manhattan, the Teen Titans (Donna Troy, Red Arrow, Kid Flash, Crush, and Roundhouse) are helping refugees from the storm while chafing at being relegated to support instead of fighting on the front lines against the Frost King.
Along with Beast Boy, the Titans go to the Brooklyn Bridge to rescue a group of people who are being attacked by ice creatures. In the course of doing so they rescue a young woman, Summer Zahid, who is developing ice powers.
Back at Titans Tower, Cyborg, Starfire and Flash arrive. Donna Troy tells Flash that the story of Frost King reminds her of an Amazonian story about the “king of winter” losing his family. Flash says that the similarity means he and Donna Troy should travel to Themyscira by Boom Tube to ask the Amazons about it, which they do.
In the 10th century, Frost King sends hordes of ice creatures at Black Adam, Hippolyta, and Viking Prince. Frost King stabs Viking Prince with a sword and the two fall into a crevasse. Viking Prince dies a heroic death, while Frost King yells that he has to save his family.
Putting The Pieces Together
In the present, Hippolyta tells Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League about the first fight with Frost King and what happened.
In an attempt to find Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman enlists Justice League Dark to send her and Zatanna to New Myrra. They discover that the entire realm is the Swamp Thing, who has shifted to another form. They tell him about Frost King’s return, hoping to get his help. But Swamp Thing says he is too cold for elementals to fight.
Along with Justice League Dark, Hippolyta casts a spell, which brings back the spirit of Viking Prince.
At that moment, Wonder Woman and Zatanna return with a clump of vines that are the empty vessel of Swamp Thing. The vines begin to grow and cover the spirit of Viking Prince. The two are then joined as a new champion of The Green.
At Stagg Industries in Gotham, the team of Multiplex, Silver Banshee, Icicle, Catman, and Rampage attack. They are working for Black Adam, who knows that it was Stagg’s actions why Frost King attacked. Black Adam finds the ice structure and sees that there are people alive inside it.
Frost King arrives, and he and Black Adam fight. Frost King defeats Black Adam’s team, but Black Adam threatens to hurt Frost King’s family, who are the people stuck inside the ice.
Simon Stagg attacks Frost King with a drone creature created from the Kryptonian crystals he found. But instead, the Kryptonian energy makes Frost King stronger (because he already had a Kryptonian energy signature).
The Justice League arrives to fight the new super-powered Frost King.
Batman admits to the team that he has been monitoring Stagg’s communications, using him as bait to get the Frost King to appear.
Frost King steals the slab with his family and returns to the Arctic Circle. The Justice League arrives to stop him, but they are now joined by Swamp Thing/Viking Prince. They all fight Frost King and his ice creatures.
As the heroes fight, Batman and Hippolyta discover that the real body of Edwald Olafsson was hidden under the ice all along in an ice cocoon, and that what they believed was the Frost King was another of his ice avatars.
After they tell the other heroes, Black Adam flies to them with the intention of killing Edwald. He is stopped by Superman, who flies Black Adam away.
Aquaman arrives with the Fire Trolls, who fight the frost creatures. Meanwhile, Hippolyta and Wonder Woman try to convince Edwald to stop his attack.
Swamp Thing/Viking Prince hits Frost King at the same time he strikes out, and both are reduced to husks.
With the King gone, winter recedes, and the world returns to normal.
In Khandaq, Black Adam tells his people that the heroes failed in their mission, and that the time of relying on them has come to an end.
At the Arctic Circle, Superman rebuilds the Fortress of Solitude at its old spot to secure the site from anything else like Frost King in the future.
Stagg has been sent to prison for his crimes.
Edwald Olafsson is alive, but the League is not yet able to revive his family. Instead of living without them, Edwald has the League put him in cryostasis so he can wait for their revival.